“I think I have gained a great step in the houses and street,” said Haviland.
“And the Reveilliere is proud of its founder,” added l’Honorable.
“We have a little newspaper—Le Coup d’Oeil,”—cried Zotique.
Chrysler congratulated Chamilly on his felicity of design in the dwellings.
The greater size of the houses was chiefly for better ventilation. The windmill was part of a simple water-works system, which supplied the village with draughts from the bottom of the river. The school was a gift of Chamilly’s.
“If we had some great architect among us,” replied he, “he would transmute for our country a national architecture.”
A little house, conspicuous for the delicacy of its architecture, stood near them, and a young man—the schoolmaster—who was on the verandah, reading, in his shirtsleeves, threw down his newspaper at the call of Zotique, came forward and entered eloquently into the work of information about the Reveilliere, flinging his cotton-clad arms recklessly towards the winds of heaven.
“The Institute—the fountain of all—the gentleman has not seen the Institute?” inquired he, looking to the two Frenchmen.
“I believe not,” Zotique said. “Have you seen it, sir?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Monsieur, you must see the Institute.”
“What is this Institute?”
“The enfant perdu of Liberalism, the mainspring of Dormilliere, the hope of French America!”
“The battle for the sway,
And light of the new day”
“About eighteen hundred and fifty,” explained the Honorable, “L’Institut Canadien was our national thinking Society, and the spark of an awakening of great promise.”
“Under the French regime, our people received no education. They knew the forests, the rapids, the science of trapping beaver, and when to expect the Iroquois, and sow grain. The English, conquest came next and cut us off from the new birth, of modern France, and the Church, our only institution, was very willing to ignore that stimulation of ideas. We lived on; we read little; we labored much.—But, monsieur,” said l’Honorable, with his quiet dignity, “we were of the race of Descartes.”
“We slept. At last the awakening! Our griefs and our grievances forced the Rebellion; they brought our thoughts together and made us reason in common; we demanded a new Canada, relieved of bureaucracy, of political disabilty, of seignioral oppression, some said even of abuses of the Church—a Canada of the People, in which every citizen should stand up equal and free.”
“The first result demanded—and obtained—was responsible government. Among others came preparations for the abolition of feudal tenure, making a vassal population freeholders!”